Posted in Bulldog Health

Bulldog Interdigital Cysts

Interdigital Cysts, (growths between the toes). Nobody really knows what causes them, some people think it is a fungus and some think it is an ingrown hair or that it may form as a result of the penetration of the skin by a foreign body – frequently grass awns. They usually clear up on their own and I am of the opinion they should not be punctured because that can lead to infection. And if possible try to avoid the antibiotic route unless there is an infection. Interdigital cysts are common in some breeds of dog . They are soft to firm fluid-filled swellings that form in the web of skin between the toes. They sometimes rupture and discharge fluid or pus.

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Breed Occurrence

The following breeds of dog are said to develop interdigital cysts commonly :

  • English Bulldogs
  • German Shepherd Dogs
  • German Short-haired Pointers
  • Great Danes
  • Pekingese
  • Scottish Terriers
  • West Highland White Terriers

Signs

  • Pigmentation of the skin and hair between the toes (red-brown-black)
  • Soft to firm swelling(s) in the web of skin between the toes
  • Discharge fluid or pus
  • Increased licking or biting of the feet between the toes
  • Lameness

Complications
Bacterial infection is a secondary complication.

Diagnosis
Diagnosis is based upon the typical location and appearance of the swellings in the interdigital skin. XRays may be taken to detect foreign material eg metal, or underlying involvement of bone, and a biopsy may be taken to eliminate the possibility of cancer.

Treatment
Medical treatment involves the use of corticosteroids (like prednisolone) which are effective in some cases. Surgical exploration of the cysts will help to identify and remove any foreign material eg grass awns.
Surgical removal (excision) off the swellings is the usual outcome if a patient does not respond to medical treatment. Unfortunately recurrence at the same site or in another interdigital web is common.

Prognosis
Good if a foreign body can be identified and removed. Guarded if no primary cause can be found because recurrence is common.

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When the area is not infected applying the bath instructions below in an early stage this will help to dissolve it in a few days in 90% of the cases.
Soak your dogs paws (preferably two or three times a day) with Epsom salts. The easiest way to do this is to do in the tub or fill the laundry tub up with 2 to 3 inches of warm water and 1 cup of Epsom Salts.
Put your Bulldog in the tub and just pet him for about 10 minutes or so. After ten minutes or so have elapsed, put your bulldog on a thick towel and gently pat his affected foot dry.

Some people use the method below when this does not work. My last Bulldog had this problem a few times but the method named above always worked for her so I never used the method described below.
After the first bath with Epsom Salts and drying its paws, fill up a cup with about an inch of hydrogen peroxide and hold his paws in this for a few moments. The area and in particular the cyst itself will respond to the hydrogen peroxide with bubbling, where as the rest of his foot does not. This shows that there is catalase enzyme present in these areas, which is one of the components released when blood or damaged cells are present.

Remember always consult with your veterinarian before starting any kind of treatment.

Author:

All about Bulldogs! The Hague, The Netherlands ♥ ♥ ♥ Bulldog ♥ ♥ ♥

43 thoughts on “Bulldog Interdigital Cysts

  1. whoa! this might be what Charlie had. I remember one day noticing that she had this weird tube like shaped thing growing out of her foot. I was totally freaked out at first as any dog owner would be. I did what I have done in the past with infected things, soaked it in salt water. After about a week of salt water soaks it just vanished. I remember thinking how weird it was, and even thought maybe I was going crazy, but it was just gone! Since then she has not had another. Thanks for shedding light on what I thought was my mutant dog ha ha

  2. My bulldog had one of these that went away with treatment. I wanted to mention that sometimes alot of redness in between paws can be an allergic reaction as well. our bulldog used to get a red rash in between her paws and on her face at the sametime. Turned out she is allergic to wheat, yeast and corn and is now on a special diet and it has cleared up.
    She also had the same redness and hives from a medication the vet put her on once as well after a surgery.
    And soaking the paws will not help,these too problems. so when in doubt, take your dog to the vet.

  3. This is good information, thanks for sharing. My eight year old bully has this problem; and when they occur, I soak him in the tub, but next time I will try the soak with epsom salt.

  4. This is good information, thanks for sharing. My eight year old bully has this problem; and when they occur, I soak him in the tub, but next time I will try the soak with epsom salt.

  5. Having read this I believed it was very informative. I appreciate you finding the
    time and energy to put this article together.
    I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both
    reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

  6. It is called Furunkoloses, my bully has it too, and my vet says, is comes from allergies.. Mine is allergic to some sort of protiens, so he is on a speciel diat food, where there is only proteins from horse and fish.. I have also heard that dustmites can cause it, then you should go to the vet every third month an get the dog an injection shot of antihistamins.. But first get your dog allergi testet at vet..
    But sadly nothing has helped him yet, we are still hopping for improvement, and is taking all the advices we can get..
    I am Danish, so pardon my English

    1. Hi, I know you stated you are Danish, but not sure where you live? I only mention this because in your comment you said that “you have heard that dust mites could cause these cysts and that then you should go to the vet every third month and get an antihistamine shot”. I’m only replying because my bully actually has a dust mite allergy, but there’s no antihistamine shot offered by vets…??…which is why I asked about your location! I live in North Carolina, in the US. I WISH there were some kind of shot to help with his allergies, but for the last 5 years we’ve found NOTHING that helps…

      1. I’m in NC too, on the coast and my English bull terrier had cysts since last November or so and I researched/tried absolutely everything. I thought it was fertilizers and pesticides from the golf course until I read that someone’s dog recovered when they moved to a brand new house (whistle clean house). They have completely disappeared over the past two months after I eliminated some aging floor/stair runners (probably the main source), eliminated dust and started sanitizing the house with a steamer. Dog beds get washed more often and just about anything can also be sanitized with sun exposure. Once you get on top of it, maintenance is pretty routine. Carpets and mattresses can also be sanitized with a steamer to kill the mites. I bought an MR-100 VAPamore steam cleaner – it’s super.
        I think dogs develop this type of environmental allergy when their immunity is down due to food allergies. Our dogs developed food allergies from the grains in the food breeder had them on – I trusted him! They’re much better, forced to go raw.

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  8. Hi there, my boerbull has a massive swelling between each front paws firtst two digits.. I soaked them in empom salt like u suggested but it staid there, this morning the left paw was swollen to twice the size, and when i looked, it erupted top to bottom , forming u tunnel inside… Should i apply hydrogen peroxide when the paw is raw or wait until it heals up again, i bought the 10% strength, should i dilute it or what..? The vet gave her anti biotics,which didnt work with ointment that didnt work either, she had puss pockets on her face when she was a puppy, but they cleared up and came out between her paws.

    1. when it is open/erupted you need to see a vet. Also buy some dogsocks at the petstore so he or she wont bite/lick her/his paws. Try daily soaking her paws in a cup with the epsom salt preferably 3 to 5 times day, make sure to dry it and put socks on afterwards. Hope your dog gets well soon ♥

  9. Hi everyone..my bulldog Brenda..has had the same problem since septemberlast year,I have seen 4 different vets including a specialist ,bulldog vet,I tryed all he creams ,atibioticts,steroids,Epsom salts,but she still ets it..costing a fortune,,I’m back to the vets today..poor Brenda,xxxx

    1. My lab had this problem for years and years. I have been through multiple vets and antibiotics and nothing seemed to work. He hasn’t had one for about 9 months now. What I did was completely eliminate all poultry, grain, wheat, and soy from his diet, including treats, that contained these ingredients. The only meat product he gets is fish. I also add wild caught salmon oil to his food. That’s it, no more meds and no more cysts! And when he would get them they were huge and extremely painful. I switch him around between Wellness, Blue Buffalo Wilderness, and Merrick.

      1. I agree Lisa, the Blue Buffalo Salmon diet is all I can give my English Bully…the cysts have been a problem since she has been a year or so old and she is now 1yr and 9months…been to the vet and through antibiotic tx and prednisolone….done with it! Never helped but took the infection away. I will continue with clean diet, and soaks of Epson salt, until it clears up. I was suggested preparation H, and Listerine-plain yellow as wipes. I am a nurse and have always said, all drugs or derivitives that are not natural are deadly!!!

  10. My lab had this problem for years and years. I have been through multiple vets and antibiotics and nothing seemed to work. He hasn’t had one for about 9 months now. What I did was completely eliminate all poultry, grain, wheat, and soy from his diet, including treats, that contained these ingredients. The only meat product he gets is fish. I also add wild caught salmon oil to his food. That’s it, no more meds and no more cysts! And when he would get them they were huge and extremely painful. I switch him around between Wellness, Blue Buffalo Wilderness, and Merrick.

  11. My bulldog Dexter has multiple interdigital cysts on his left paw. They are really big and nothing seems to help. He has been on several antibiotics, steroids, soaking treatments, allergy medicines. He as been to several specialists. He has had two operations and now he is worse than ever. The surgeons want to take out the cysts, webbing between the digits, and fuse the paw together. Not sure that this will work since he carries so much weight on his front paws. I am afraid of this operation since he is almost 7. As you can tell I really don’t know what to do.

    1. Hi Sharon, normally these cysts will go away after treatment. But when they do keep coming back it might be that an allergy is the cause of these cysts. This also explains why antibiotics and treatment is not working cause the reason/origin of the problem. Maybe this blog can help you with that. https://baggybulldogs.wordpress.com/health/general-health/allergies . Maybe you can consult your vet doing an extensive allergy test before operating?
      Hope your Bulldog get well soon ♥

      1. Thanks for your comments on Dexter. He has a lot of scar tissue in the cysts. As a result they never get very small or go away. He has had allergy testing and wasn’t allergic to many things. His problem is isolated to the left front paw and is very servere.

  12. Hi Sharon. Did you get any further with Dexters problem? They sound similar to Olleys and its driving me mad with worry! He keeps giving me his paw in such a pathetic way.😦

    Olley has a regularly ocuring (~monthly – 6 weeks) interdigital furuncle on his front paw.

    He has a skin problem (MRSP) and is resistant to many antibiotics. Making treatment a nightmare.

    It seems to be getting bigger and ‘tougher’ each time. We punctured it with a sterile needle last time and kept it clean and covered which gave him some relief and it went down a little (but not completely). I have tried epson salt washes, maluseb baths, hydrogen peroxide cleans but nothing seems to work.

    But its back and again he cannot put his paw down on the floor.😦😦

    Any suggestions from the bulldog community???

    Mel

  13. My English Bulldog, “Bob” & French Bulldog “Bonnie” used to have this problem really bad before we moved to a new house. We lived in a condo community where they over fertilized the lawns as well as use commercial strength pesticides to kill bugs/weeds. The grounds crew would put on chemical suits, gloves and masks just to spray this toxic stuff. I have a feeling this could be the main problem for why dogs are getting this. Agreed from article they get it from the lawn but its the fertilizers and pesticides causing this issue in my opinion. After 5 years at the condo with constant problems with their feet and now, 3 years in new house absolutely no problems at all. I use a natural eco friendly fertilizer and keep bug spray down to once a year usually start of spring. http://hardwareonlinestore.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&view=productdetails&virtuemart_product_id=71408&virtuemart_category_id=74401&gclid=CMPv4r692sMCFYOSfgod364AwQ

    Hope this helps some owners pin point this problem better.

  14. Morning ,,just to update,,I have found a cream,it isn’t a cure but it’s really good and soothing for all out bully’s feet it’s called udder cream,,it’s used for cows look it up,it has all antiseptic and tea tree oils in it,,it just takes all the redness down and give relief to there poor paws,,it so worth the £7.00. Price .iv spent £1000 on Brenda’s foot now and nothing has worked but this cream is so good. I recomend it to everyone,xxx

  15. Hello fellow bulldog lovers! This is my very first post, but after 12 years of caring for my 2 sibling bulldoggies, who get these between their toes occasionally, I thought I should share something with you. About 10 years ago, my vet recommended medicated pads called DUOXO wipes to use between their toes to treat and prevent and treat this problem. This is the brand I use, but the main ingredient in them is chlorohexidine 3%, which is an antiseptic. In my experience, it works much faster and better than Epsom salt at treating anything that has developed, and is especially effective at preventing any breakouts in the first place. I also use theses pads on their face folds. To be economical, I use one pad per dog each use – starting on the face folds and ending with wiping each toe. For me, it has been worth the money to spend on the wipes to prevent infections (and vet trips) and almost eliminate biting and licking paws.

  16. Hello fellow bulldog lovers! This is my very first post, but after 12 years of caring for my 2 sibling bulldoggies, who get these between their toes occasionally, I thought I should share something with you. About 10 years ago, my vet recommended medicated pads called DUOXO wipes to use between their toes to treat and prevent and treat this problem. This is the brand I use, but the main ingredient in them is chlorohexidine 3%, which is an antiseptic. In my experience, it works much faster and better than Epsom salt at treating anything that has developed, and is especially effective at preventing any breakouts in the first place. I also use theses pads on their face folds. To be economical, I use one pad per dog each use – starting on the face folds and ending with wiping each toe. For me, it has been worth the money to spend on the wipes to prevent infections (and vet trips) and almost eliminate biting and licking paws.

  17. My bully has this problem every once in awhile too. He sometime get them on his head face and neck when it’s very hot and humid out. When I bathe him, I give him and bath and put Epsom salt in there. Don’t judge me for this, but I take the bath with him. Since Epsom salt is good for soaking your muscles and I have epilepsy and he is my service dog, it relaxes us both. He gets his little pedicures, I get to relax and soak my sore muscles from seizures and he soaks and gets rid of the cysts that eventually pop and leak the pus and a little bit of blood. It works wonders. Make sure you also clean under the pads of their feet too because mud and dirt can get caked in there and can cause these cyst to develop them as well.

    The cysts that don’t want to go away and are really firm, I have helped to pop because he will lick them furiously, but we do an Epsom salt and peroxide mix with warm water then a Malacetic wipe before drying. You can also use a wound care spray to help once a cyst has ruptured to close the wound and let it dry on its own. Don’t blow on it to dry and it causes it to burn. Adding an extra probiotic to your bully’s food can help this as well. It keeps the yeast and moisture down. I also use a cornstarch and cornstarch based baby powder mixture to put in between his toes for those humid and hot days to keep them from growing.

    I know lots of info, but it took me a lot of time to research, ask other bully parents, bully vets, groomers, my own experience of what works with my bully, and what I have read. Let me know what you think.

    1. Just fyi, it has recently been discovered that tea tree oil can be toxic to dogs in certain doses. We’ve known for quite some time now that it’s extremely toxic to cats, but within the last year it was deemed to be toxic to dogs too…

  18. My dog gets these things and has had two surgeries with no success. I was given a prescription that the vet mixed up with Synotic and 3 ccs of Banamine. It was the only thing that took it away. It does resurface so we are now at another vet to get scraping’s and get a thyroid test to see if its parasites,mange or an off thyroid. I told the new doc about the med from the old vet and he said ” oh yea that works great”. He mixed up a bottle with Synotic and Baytril. It’s a liquid you massage in. Hope it works as well as the other stuff . I must find the problem for my little guy not just treat the symptoms and my vet is on a mission with me.

  19. My bully has cysts a few times a year. The way I treat them works well, and helps with swelling and healing. Fill a sandwich bag with equal parts betadine, hydrogen peroxide, and warm water, so that its the color of weak tea. Place the affected paw in bag, and squish the solution for a minute or two. Pat dry. If your dog licks afterwards, solution is harmless. Works for us everytime!

  20. I have a 51/2 year old english bulldog who developed a cyst between his toes not long after I rescued him. He would not let anyone touch his feet at the time so my vet did give him antibiotics (Bactrim). We ended up giving him 2 courses which did work and I was able to soak his feet in Epsom salt after the swelling and redness disappeared. He is getting more trusting and I try to soak his feet every 2 weeks–so far so good. I’m very thankful for this site which I think will help me greatly. I never thought of allergies, because I did change his food. I have other issues with him because he was abused but he is smart and sweet most of the time. I am learning what triggers his occasional aggression ,but I”m not sure how to break him of it. Would “Baggy Bulldogs” be able to help? Thanks!

    1. Hi, we are located in the Netherlands but I am able to help you by giving you tips and tricks on training. You can always ask here, this is our facebook group where not only me and the other Baggy Bulldog can help you with advice but also 25000 other Bulldg owners https://www.facebook.com/groups/BaggyBulldogWorld. You can also send me a pm directly (when you are in the group, go to the tab members and select admins, my name is Sabrina.

  21. Hi I recently got a 3 1/2 year bully baby from an old friend who could no longer keep him but he seems to have this and am currently bathing his paw in warm water with a solution called hibbiscrub (from previous owner) (apparently available from vets and human pharmacy) which seems to be clearing it along with gently wiping any discharge oh and great post and comments and will be asking to join Facebook page

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